The theme for this month's Practice Series is LISTENING.
The intention of this practice is to listen to others with heart awareness. Not only does this allow more compassion, it also allows us to hear people in sometimes surprising new ways. It helps us to be less attached to the content of what someone is saying and hear the humanity underneath it. In our creative endeavors, it also helps us to gain new perspective and see outside of ourselves.
You can try this practice next time you are around other people. It’s easiest to begin by listening to voices you are not actually in conversation with—for example, in line at the grocery store as you hear people around you.
- Choose a person you are going to practice this with. (They don’t need to know.)
- Bring your attention to your own heart by breathing into your heart.
- Let out a long slow breath, allowing your chest and heart area to physically relax.
- Begin to allow the tone of that person’s voice, the emotional qualities, the content, and everything you hear to flow in and out of your heart space, as though your heart were watery and fluid. Nothing sticks, it simply comes and goes to and from your heart.
- Continue this as long as you like.
What did you experience as you listened to someone with heart awareness?
(Also, please note that this practice builds on last week’s practice of listening to your own heartbeat, so if you find this one challenging, we recommend returning to that one for another week or two and then coming back to this.)
Photograph by Alessandro Valli on Flickr (CC)